Read Poltergeist Online

Authors: James Kahn

Tags: #Movie


BOOK: Poltergeist
4.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub



From the imageless eye of the TV set, from the flickering snowy light, it calls to Carol Anne, six years old and innocent.

From beyond the world of the living, it reaches out in unholy anger, ripping her from the arms of her family into the thrall of the POLTERGEIST.



Music by
Story by
Screenplay by
Directed by
Produced by

Copyright © 1982 by Amblin’ Enterprises Inc.
All rights reserved

Warner Books, Inc., 75 Rockerfeller Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10019

A Warner Communications Company

Printed in the United States of America

First Printing; June 1st, 1982

ISBN 0-446-30222-8

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1



A mischievous entity that makes noises, throws objects, causes fires . . . usually occurs in the immediate vicinity of some young person. It is as if this person is haunted or persecuted by some spirit . . .”
—from The New Steinerbooks Dictionary of the Paranormal



Force from another world, whirling a path of destruction through a peaceful family, wrenching from their midst a small girl, wreaking the vengeance of the dead against the living.



Can anyone ever still the restless animus, save those upon whom it vents its awesome wrath, and rescue the child who is its prey?

“Some things have to be believed to be seen.”

—Ralph Hodgson


“. . . O’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.”

“This is KTCV, Cuesta Verde Television, ending scheduled broadcast of our programming day. Please join us again at six-thirty for ‘Traffic Watch,’ and until then, have a pleasant Good Morning.”

The American flag suddenly disappeared from the screen and was instantly replaced by the hiss of static snow shedding an eerie bluish light across the living room. Steve Freeling slept soundly in his recliner, fifteen feet from the set, lot and parcel maps strewn on the floor around him, lease contracts covering his lap. Except for the white noise of the television, the house was dark and quiet.

Upstairs in the large front bedroom, Steve’s wife Diane curled peacefully around her pillow, undisturbed by dream or doubt. The lace curtains blew gently at the open window, on the quiet nights respiration. Outside, it was autumn, a shadow Of change in the air.

Down the hall from Diane was Dana’s room. Dana was fifteen, cute, dark haired, snoring, her hand loosely slumped over her own personal telephone. Jeans in a pile by the bed, homework in a pile on the chair, diary stuffed under the mattress, lip gloss poised and waiting on the vanity. She slept like an unself-conscious heiress.

Next to the master bedroom was the children’s room. Robbie, seven, slept a fitful sleep, wrapped arm-in-paw with his terry-cloth bear. The floor was covered with a profusion of toys, games, clothes, crayons, and the like—the joyous clutter of the very young. A stuffed clown doll sat lopsided in the rocking chair. Across the room, in a matching imitation frontier bed, slept Robbie’s five-year-old sister, Carol Anne. At a few minutes past two-thirty in the morning, Carol Anne opened her eyes.

Without a sound she sat up in bed, swung her legs to the floor, padded out of the room and down the hall to the top of the stairs. Her eyes were open, but without expression—they could as easily have been looking inward as out. Her small legs took her carefully down the steps in the darkness, past the front door, into the living room where her father slumped in his chair.

The television filled the room with its characteristic glow, almost blue, almost white; its long continuous sigh awaiting the morning’s transmissions. Carol Anne acted as if she didn’t see her slumbering father. She walked past him without changing the direction of her gaze, walked up to the eye of the television, stared into its depths, touched its face with her tiny hand.

“Hello,” she whispered. “Who are you?”

Upstairs, Diane sat bolt upright. She was suddenly cold, and wide awake. Steve wasn’t beside her. She got up quickly, threw a robe on, closed the window, ran downstairs. As soon as she entered, Steve woke up, spilling his papers to the floor. They looked at each other, and then at Carol Anne.

The little girl’s nose was pressed to the static-filled tube; her gaze tracked the dancing lights as if they were runes flashing a secret message: for her eyes only.

“Where are you?” she sang. “Come closer, I want to see you.”

Diane stared bleakly at her daughter, and shivered.

Cuesta Verde Estates was located sixty-seven miles northeast of San Clemente, and spanned over three hundred acres of real estate. Of course, it wasn’t all developed yet—it was still a young community—but it was a sound community; it would grow.

Steve Freeling was a major force in that growth. His family had been the first to move into Cuesta Verde, when Robbie was just an infant. The first to move in, the first to plant grass. The land had been barren at the beginning, miles of rolling hills, mostly scrubland. They piped water in, though, planted bushes and saplings, set down roots. Envisioned shopping centers. Real suburban pioneers.

Steve was also the Number One salesman of the entire development. It was easy for him—he believed in this place, believed in this life. He had a home, on a piece of land; he had a family, a job, a future. A vision. He was content with all the world.

Here was his vision—it surrounded him like a sweet dream on this November Sunday afternoon, as it did every Sunday:

Emerson, the neighbor, was mowing his lawn; Emerson’s wife, Elaine, lay supine, glistening on their sun deck, rubbing the cellulite from her thighs with coconut oil; Delaney, the neighbor on the other side, was positioning his chair in preparation for watching the Rams wipe the Raiders all over the tube on the front porch; three teens played Frisbee in the middle of the street, as Steve’s golden retriever, E. Buzz, chased the flying saucer from hand to hand; barbecue smoke filtered across the sun; and the bright air smelled crisp.

Steve took this all in at a glance, unconsciously, as he cut back his roses—Sunday was the day he tended the garden—and felt a tremendous sense of well-being. He knew who he was, what life was about. He had it all down.

At thirty-seven, he was a large, handsome man—strapping, even—though he’d begun to develop a well-fed American paunch, and his hairline was higher than he might have liked. He had a bad knee from playing college ball. Only the week before, his doctor had told him his diet was simply terrible. Steve had replied that was no surprise, so was Diane’s cooking; whereupon Diane had kicked him under the table with jocular but unexpected vehemence—inadvertently in the bad knee. He’d been limping for a week now, with sometimes theatric exaggeration in Diane’s presence—but that was only a tease, and she knew it. For Steve was the gentlest of men; he loved his family dearly.

Diane glimpsed him now from the bedroom window as she straightened up in there. She called out to him not to trim the roses back too much, but he didn’t hear her because of the noise from Emerson’s lawnmower; she decided it wasn’t worth yelling louder. So she paused, just to watch him a moment, then returned to the business at hand.

Where Steve was big, Diane was slight. Wispy auburn hair, delicate fingers—even her arms seemed fragile. Yet she was by far the feistier of the two. In an instant, her pixie face could flush with blood, her eyes focused with will and fire—and then nothing could dissuade her from her purpose. Steve never tried to stand up to this force.

BOOK: Poltergeist
4.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Tears of Blood by Beaudelaire, Simone
Flipped Off by Zenina Masters
Forbidden in February by Suzanna Medeiros
Seducing the Accomplice by Morey, Jennifer
Tiger Town by Eric Walters
Bury Your Dead by Louise Penny
Lovely Shadows by Kilbourn, Kendra
The Sheriff's Surrender by Marilyn Pappano
The Reunion by Kraft, Adriana
Dicing with Death by Beth Chambers